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Public holiday to extend misery of Delhi AIIMS patients hit by strike

The residents had appealed to the director that all surgeries cancelled on Friday be scheduled for Monday — a gazetted holiday due to Buddha Purnima.

delhi Updated: Apr 30, 2018 09:41 IST
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
AIIMS strike,Patients,Delhi hospital
A general view of the crowded OPD after doctors went on a protest march around the AIIMS Campus, at AIIMS Hospital, in New Delhi, on Friday. (Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

For the over 10,000 patients who receive treatment at out-patient clinics at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) daily, relief is set to come only on Tuesday, with the clinics remaining shut for the fourth day in a row on Monday because of a public holiday.

On Friday and Saturday, patients were turned away as nearly 2,000 resident doctors had gone on a strike demanding suspension of a senior faculty member who had allegedly slapped a resident doctor.

Out-patient clinics at AIIMS are shut on Sundays.

According to the administration, since Friday, only follow-up patients or patients who had been receiving treatment under certain departments were allowed to meet the doctors.

Shafique Ahmed, 35, who got his mother to the hospital on Friday for her routine diabetes and hypertension check-up, said they were turned away.

“The guards told me that there is a strike on so the doctors would not be able to see my mother,” he said. He said he had a prior appointment.

At AIIMS, an estimated 30-40% patients travel from neighbouring states to get treated. For most, not meeting a doctor means spending nights on the pavement outside the hospital.

The strike has affected the routine surgeries as well, patients and doctors said.

Patients wait for months and sometimes even years for their surgery date at the premier hospital.

“The residents ensured that all emergency procedures and any case where a delay might result in the deterioration of the condition of the patient were conducted even when the strike was ongoing. However, all the routine surgeries scheduled for Friday had to be cancelled. And, few such surgeries for Saturday were cancelled too,” said Dr Harjit Bhatti, president of the AIIMS resident doctors association.

The residents had appealed to the director that all surgeries cancelled on Friday be scheduled for Monday — a gazetted holiday due to Buddha Purnima.

“We haven’t received a confirmation from the administration yet on whether it will be possible to open the operation theatres as the staff might not want to work on a holiday. In that case, we have agreed to put in extra hours on the working days this week to finish the backlog of cases,” said Dr Harjit Bhatti.

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 08:30 IST